Making the NLRB Great Again

Posted by Olivia Grady on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Permalink

Republicans gain control of the NLRB with Emanuel confirmation

On September 25, 2017, the Senate voted 49 to 47 along party lines to confirm William J. Emanuel as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), making it the first time the Board has had all five seats filled since 2015.

Prior to his confirmation, Emanuel was a shareholder at the prestigious law firm, Littler Mendelson P.C. in Los Angeles, California. In this role, he was a member of the firm’s Traditional Labor Practice Group and editor of the Labor Relations Counsel, the firm’s labor blog. His focus areas were Labor Management Relations; Business Restructuring; Wage and Hour; Hiring, Performance Management and Termination; and Healthcare. Mr. Emanuel’s work in labor included challenging laws that allow labor unions to trespass on an employer’s private property. He has been recognized for his legal work, including being named in the Best Lawyers in America 2018 Edition. He earned his law degree at Georgetown University in 1963 after completing his Bachelor’s Degree at Marquette University in 1960.

This confirmation is another blow to Democrats because Republicans now have control of the Board for the first time since 2007. They are worried that Emanuel will help roll back some of the Obama Administration’s job-killing regulations.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee responded to the confirmation, "Mr. Emanuel has spent decades working with corporations to undermine workers' efforts to collectively bargain, which is the NLRB's mission." 

Republicans, however, see this confirmation as an opportunity to undo the ambush rule and overturn the joint employer decision, among others. The ambush rule shortens the time of a union election and forces employers to give the contact information of their employees to unions, giving the union a strong advantage in the election. The joint employer regulation creates more liability for companies who have franchises. Both rules were issued under the Obama Administration. Their result has been less privacy for workers and higher costs for employers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained the recent problems with the NLRB on the floor:

“For more than 80 years, the NLRB has been responsible for the impartial resolution of labor disputes and for ensuring stable labor relations. Under the board majority appointed by the Obama administration, however, the NLRB moved from fair administrator of the law to partisan activist — one that put left-wing ideology, deep-pocketed union bosses and other special interest friends ahead of middle-class workers.”

Interestingly, William Emanuel will not be and has not been the only Trump nominee for the Board. President Trump will be filling another seat soon when Chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term expires on December 17th, and Marvin Kaplan was just sworn in on August 10, 2017.

Americans for Tax Reform congratulates Mr. Emanuel on his confirmation and urges the Board to rescind the Obama Administration regulations that are hurting the economy.

Image: Littler Mendelson P.C.